April 2020 Showcase - Colored Pencil Artwork

April 2020 Showcase - Colored Pencil Artwork

The three artists featured in the April 2020 issue of COLOR Magazine Showcase submitted stories about their artwork for our blog. Read below about their inspiration for each of these beautiful works of art. 


Pip, Grands Crus & Littlemissdynamite
by Shannagh-leigh Hartshorn
16 x 23 inches
Caran D'Ache Museum Aquarelle pencils on Daler Rowney Aquafine hot pressed paper
Photo by Julie Reynalds

This painting was a huge honor to do; these horses have some inspiring stories. Pip is now 30 years old but has been an amazing teacher for her owner's young daughter with some very impressive wins. Grands Crus was an incredible racehorse, now retired. He had an incredible racing career and it has been such a highlight of mine to paint this beautiful horse. I’m also slightly biased to grays so that was a nice bonus. Littlemissdynamite was trained with the same trainer as George, but sadly had an injury and is now happily retired with her owner.

For me this painting is incredibly special because I feel like it painted itself. The composition was so easy it just flowed because of their expressions. The background was a huge challenge and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull it off. I really wanted a painterly feeling to blend the horses into, which meant doing the foreground last, so if the foreground didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped it would have ruined the whole portrait. But I'm happy I could maintain the painterly feel and faux brush strokes throughout. The end result was well worth the risk.

About Shannagh-leigh Hartshorn:

Shannagh-leigh specializes in equine and pet portraiture. She brings characters to life in her paintings. She works in a variety of different mediums but currently welcomes commissions in acrylic and water-soluble colored pencil. Her art style is realistic but painterly, capturing the animals' likeness while being able to see every pencil mark.

See more at: shannagh.co.uk/


The Courtship by Karen Hull
12 x 16 inches
Museum Aquarelles, Polychromos, Pablos, Luminance, Derwent Lightfast and Verithins on Xerox Nevertear paper
Compilation of four different photo references from Pixabay

When browsing for references, as a I sometimes do, I fell in love with the delicate colors in the roses of the references for this artwork, and loved the contrasting textures and earthy colors in the woven basket. These roses were very similar in color to the ones I had in our wedding bouquet 30 years ago. I rarely hang any of my own artworks in our house but wanted to create something that would both match our decor and convey the whimsical kind of art that I love doing the most. The sparrows were added to give the piece a narrative quality, rather than simply drawing a beautiful bunch of roses. Watercolor pencils were used, with water, to lay down an initial underpainting and then the colored pencils were used to add detail and enhance colors. This artwork is the subject of a 40-page tutorial available at my website.

About Karen Hull:

Karen is an Australian based full-time artist, illustrator, and tutor who works in a realistic but whimsical style using colored pencils and mixed media.

See more at: www.karenhullart.com


The Staircase by Jessie Babin
11 x 14 inches
Prismacolor Premier pencils on Stonehenge paper
Artist’s own photo

The main focus of my work has largely been works on paper. I believe drawing is its own art form separate from painting, with its own techniques and concepts. Most of my work has been figurative in nature, using portraits to explore themes such as dreams, relationships ,and narrative.

The drawing “The Staircase” is a portrait of my friend and fellow artist Melanie Belliveau. It was part of a series of four portraits in which the drawings are composed as if they're still frames from a film. The viewer is getting a small glimpse into a larger narrative. As part of the process, I would select my model, pick a location and spend a couple of hours exploring the area while photographing my subject as they talked to me and explored their surroundings. This particular drawing was inspired by a photoshoot with Mel during the summer of 2018. After the shoot, I proceed to go through the collection of photos I had taken to determine which images I liked best. Often, I pick a few and somehow take and reference elements from all of them.

This drawing took about a month to complete. Working with colored pencils can be very labor intensive as the medium requires a lot of mixing and layering of colors to get the right textures. In most drawing I create using colored pencils, I will often use a bit of mineral spirits to help blend the colors and create certain effects, such as the out-of-focus background in this case. I enjoy doing work that is very detailed and love doing portraits. This series of drawings ended taking about four to five months to create and the pieces were shown at Gallery 78 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. I would have to say this particular series has been my most challenging but also my favorite and most rewarding to-date.

About Jessie Babin:

Jessie was born 1990 in Dalhousie, New Brunswick. She attended NSCAD University in Halifax from 2008 to 2012 (BFA Fine Arts). She specializes in works on paper done in graphite and colored pencils. Jessie is represented by Gallery 78 in Fredericton and a is member of the Portrait Society of Canada. She lives and works in Moncton, N.B. Canada.

See more at: www.jessiebabin.com


These artworks were published in the April 2020 issue of COLOR Magazine.

Download the 40 page digital version of the magazine for just $3.89, or subscribe and save 15%. Each issue is packed with step by step projects, critiques, colored pencil tips, artist profiles and much more.

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